Goshi Hosono, as the minister in charge of the nuclear accident, met with the Harvard political professor Michael J. Sandel, to whom Hosono said that his government should have admitted a core melt (meltdown) possibility earlier.
Well, the government actually did, very early, like the very next day of the disaster on March 11, 2011. But the Kan administration quickly replaced the official of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency who spoke about the possible core melt in the press conference at noon on March 12, 2011. So they officially admitted, as if by mistake, in the initial confusion. Then, they were busy backtracking from that statement until several weeks later. Even for those who heard and read about the statement, I don't think it registered on them as people weren't as educated about things nuclear at that time as they are now.
For that matter, the government, with Mr. Edano as the spokesman, didn't officially tell the public that there was an explosion of Reactor 1 on March 12, 2011, until after 5 hours had passed.
When Goshi Hosono as a personal assistant to then-Prime Minister Kan went on a TV program in April 2011 and said "We knew it was a meltdown but we just didn't feel like telling people", there was hardly any reaction from the media or the general public.
And now here's what Goshi Hosono said to the Harvard professor, via Kyodo News (5/29/2012):
Mr. Hosono met with US professor Sandel, said "We should have admitted to a core melt"
Goshi Hosono, minister in charge of the nuclear accident, met with Professor Michael Sandel of Harvard University, known for his lively lectures on political philosophy, in his office in the Cabinet Office on May 29. Concerning the government response right after the start of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, Hosono said, "If we had frankly admitted to the possibility of a core melt, people's trust in the government announcement may have been different from what it is now. I think there was a problem."
Over the information disclosure, Mr. Hosono said "On the whole, Japanese citizens are very calm and able to discuss various subjects". He went on to emphasize that "With such citizens, the information disclosure and the communications should be changed."
"We should have admitted to a core melt", Hosono now says. Several years down, he may be saying "We should have never done the wide-area debris disposal", says one of my Japanese twitter followers after reading the Kyodo News.